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confused about Saxon 8/7 and Algebra 1/2


CindyE
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My 6th grader just finished up Saxon 7/6 with which he did very well. So according to WTM, he can do Saxon 8/7 next year, skip Algebra 1/2 and do Algebra 1 in 8th grade. But I've read some reviews that said to skip Saxon 8/7 and do Algebra 1/2 instead. One review I read said it depended on what edition we were using. Can someone clarify the differences in these two texts, Saxon 8/7 and Algebra 1/2, and which would be best to use and not use with a child who doesn't need the extra year of review before algebra. Thanks a bunch.

 

Cindy E.

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I've heard that in the older hardback Saxon 8/7 prealgebra is not covered. It was used for students who struggled with 7/6 and needed an extra year before moving on to Alg. 1/2 The newer paperback 8/7 is equivalent to the hardback Algebra 1/2.

 

3 of my DC went from 7/6 to Alg. 1/2, but they all ran into trouble around the lessons in the 50s and 60s of Alg 1/2 where we had to slow down and review. I have 2 friends whose kids ran into the same trouble spot. Personally for us Alg. 1/2 was the hardest of all the Saxon's texts to get through.

 

I've heard from 2 other friends that the paperback 8/7 doesn't have that problem.

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Guest Becki Sue in FL

I have heard the same thing regarding editions. If you are using the older hardback versions, then you can skip 8/7 and go to Alg 1/2. But if you are using the newer softcover versions, then you can do the opposite -- go to 8/7 and skip Alg. 1/2. My son is using the newer versions and just finished 7/6, so we are moving to 8/7 with the plan to go into Alg 1 after that. We'll see how it works! Hope this helps you decide. :001_smile:

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I've heard that in the older hardback Saxon 8/7 prealgebra is not covered. It was used for students who struggled with 7/6 and needed an extra year before moving on to Alg. 1/2 The newer paperback 8/7 is equivalent to the hardback Algebra 1/2.

 

Actually, with earlier editions, students did either Math 87 *or* Alg. 1/2, not both. Students who struggled through Math 76 would do Math 87, then Algebra 1; students who zoomed through Math 76 did Alg. 1/2, then Algebra 1. So, yes, there has always been pre-algebra in Math 87, and no, doing both texts was not part of the program. (Some people might have done both if their dc were very young, so they wouldn't be going into algebra too early.)

 

With the current editions, students who zoom through Math 76 do Math 87, then Alg. 1; students who struggle with Math 76 do Alg. 1/2, then Alg. 1.

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I've taught/tutored Saxon for many years (well over 10).

 

The FIRST edition of Saxon 8/7 did NOT cover Pre-Algebra concepts. They added Pre-Algebra with the next edition.

 

Many of the 'reviews' of Saxon are outdated.

 

BOTH Saxon 8/7 and Algebra 1/2 texts cover what is now known as 'Pre-Algebra'.

 

Saxon 8/7 moves a bit slower and provides a bit more background information.

 

Algebra 1/2 moves rather quickly--heavy on the arithmetic in the first 1/3 of the text--nearly overkill.

 

BOTH texts prepare students for ANY Algebra 1 course.

 

I prefer Saxon 8/7. I've had too many students try to go from 7/6 into Algebra 1/2 and feel 'left behind' and rushed--especially after the lesson '50' mark when the new material really kicks in. I also like the option of working 8/7 first --leaving Algebra 1/2 as an 'optional' year if student is still not ready for Algebra 1.

 

I also must caution parents about Saxon in the upper levels. Saxon is a very good--strong program IF it suits your student's learning style.

 

IF your student gets bogged down around lesson 50 in either 8/7 or Algebra 1/2 and going back a few lessons and slowing down does not seem to help it is BEST to stop where you are and change to a more traditional text. There are many students who use Saxon in the lower grades and then hit a brick wall with it in the upper grades (different authors). These students would most likely benifit from a traditional program that shows the WHOLE concept (chapters/units that are related)--getting MORE practice with concepts they are unsure of.

 

With Saxon it is VERY possible (and VERY common) for a student to do well--only missing a few problems on each problem set and then BOMB a test and future lessons. Unless the parent/teacher monitors the problem type(s) missed, the student's errors can SNOWBALL very quickly.

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I'll have to agree with Jann. The computations in Algebra 1/2 can really bog a student down. DS#2 would get so lost in large computations that he would forget where he was going with the concept and get very frustrated. This DC needed the mastery approach and has done a lot better with seeing the big picture rather than Saxon's method of getting concepts in bits and pieces. His brain just couldn't put the pieces together to "see" how they related to one another.

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  • 2 years later...

I know this is an outdated thread but found it while googling for help on which Saxon book to choose.

 

My son is working his way through the Saxon 7/6 book now. We were advised to skip Saxon 8/7 and move to Algebra 1/2 in order to be ready for Algebra 1 for 9th grade. I was told that the two books were virtually the same.

 

I contacted Saxon to ask about this and the reply I received was:

 

Math 87 is the first of the pre-algebra texts, is very comprehensive, and should not be skipped. If a student does well in Math 87 (consistently scoring 85% or better on the cumulative tests) he can go directly into Algebra 1. However students who struggle in Math 87 should then take Algebra ½ for more practice in the fundamental skills of pre-algebra. The goal is to send a strong student into algebra 1. Students who stumble into algebra 1 tend to struggle throughout high school in math, whereas students who enter algebra 1 well prepared tend to do well all the way through high school math.

 

Thought this could help someone else.

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  • 11 months later...

Thank you for all the info I get on this forum from moms like you. Just to pipe in, my 6th grade daughter finished 76 last year, no real problems. We started 87 and she got upset thinking she was going to now be a year behind her older, and very proficient sister who did alg 1/2 in 6th and then started Algebra 1 in 7th grade. It is so good to know that we can do 87 OR alg 1/2 . My younger does math a bit differently than the older (who'd a thunk) so we'll see if saxon continues to be a good fit. My older 9th grade girl is just starting saxon advanced math. I'm not sure I see my younger in the same track but we'll see. Now I do know that we have the option of Alg 1/2 to do next if my 6th grader stumbles. Or maybe we'll go through it slower. It looks like either way 87 should be just fine for this year. Happy schooling.

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  • 11 years later...

Thanks for info. My profoundly gifted 9 yr old finished 3rd grade year being halfway thru 7/6 with a 95 avg. He took stanford 10, scored perfectly and shows ge of post high school. Saxon has been awesome for him. From reading these reviews I now know we will finish 7/6 and then do 8/7  and if no issues after lesson 50 go straight from this book to algebra1. He usually finishes 2 or 2.5 texts a yr and we dont skip lessons. He does 1.5 hrs of math a day at his own pace and most is done orally. Usually no more than 6 problems need to b worked on whiteboard. When I tried to use another program after 2 weeks he begged to go back to Saxon.  We love Saxon

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On 6/15/2008 at 10:12 AM, CindyE said:

My 6th grader just finished up Saxon 7/6 with which he did very well. So according to WTM, he can do Saxon 8/7 next year, skip Algebra 1/2 and do Algebra 1 in 8th grade. But I've read some reviews that said to skip Saxon 8/7 and do Algebra 1/2 instead. One review I read said it depended on what edition we were using. Can someone clarify the differences in these two texts, Saxon 8/7 and Algebra 1/2, and which would be best to use and not use with a child who doesn't need the extra year of review before algebra. Thanks a bunch.

Cindy E.

FTR, Saxon never intended for students to do both Math 87 *and* Alg. 1/2.  The rule of thumb for older editions was that a student who had at least 80% average in Math 76 did Alg. 1/2, then Alg. 1; less than 80%, Math 76, Math 87, Alg. 1. With the current editions, it has flip-flopped: completion of Math 76 with at least an 80%, Math 87, Alg. 1; less than 80% in Math 76, then Alg. 1/2, Alg. 1. If Saxon says Math 87 next, then that's what you do. TBH, it doesn't matter what people's opinions are.

IOW, the differences between Alg. 1/2 and Math 87 are irrelevant when deciding between them. It's either based on experience (completion of Math 76 with a certain percentage score) or placement test.

Edited by Ellie
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On 8/4/2023 at 3:35 PM, Nana Judy said:

Thanks for info. My profoundly gifted 9 yr old finished 3rd grade year being halfway thru 7/6 with a 95 avg. He took stanford 10, scored perfectly and shows ge of post high school. Saxon has been awesome for him. From reading these reviews I now know we will finish 7/6 and then do 8/7  and if no issues after lesson 50 go straight from this book to algebra1. He usually finishes 2 or 2.5 texts a yr and we dont skip lessons. He does 1.5 hrs of math a day at his own pace and most is done orally. Usually no more than 6 problems need to b worked on whiteboard. When I tried to use another program after 2 weeks he begged to go back to Saxon.  We love Saxon

One issue you will run into when moving on to Algebra 1 with a young student is that your son will need to be mature enough to work multi-step problems on paper- not in his head.  This is Algebra.  It is not about the answer it is about the methods used to get the answer.  I would suggest completing all of 8/7 before moving into Algebra 1 as this will help the transition. 

If he likes 'head/thinking' work then add in some AOPS.

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14 minutes ago, Jann in TX said:

One issue you will run into when moving on to Algebra 1 with a young student is that your son will need to be mature enough to work multi-step problems on paper- not in his head.  This is Algebra.  It is not about the answer it is about the methods used to get the answer.  I would suggest completing all of 8/7 before moving into Algebra 1 as this will help the transition. 

If he likes 'head/thinking' work then add in some AOPS.

Totally agree. This was our exact issue when my 11 year old got about 1/4 way into Alg 1. There were far too many steps for him to keep straight in his head, but he felt he should be able to because he always had been able to. It was not a fun thing to have to 'relearn' while also being hit with hormones. LoL

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14 minutes ago, Jann in TX said:

One issue you will run into when moving on to Algebra 1 with a young student is that your son will need to be mature enough to work multi-step problems on paper- not in his head.  This is Algebra.  It is not about the answer it is about the methods used to get the answer.  I would suggest completing all of 8/7 before moving into Algebra 1 as this will help the transition. 

If he likes 'head/thinking' work then add in some AOPS.

Totally agree. This was our exact issue when my 11 year old got about 1/4 way into Alg 1. There were far too many steps for him to keep straight in his head, but he felt he should be able to because he always had been able to. It was not a fun thing to have to 'relearn' while also being hit with hormones. LoL

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8 hours ago, Green Bean said:

Not that the responses aren't informative, but did anyone else notice the original thread is 15 yrs old? It is amazing how we come back around here.

::face palm::

I try to remember to look at the original date so that I don't reply to a zombie thread. Lost my head for a minute, lol.

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  • 2 months later...

Resurrecting this old thread because I was interested in this topic myself.  I found this article which may be helpful in this discussion.  It was posted by Art Reed on his www.teachingsaxon.com website.   He's a Saxon (and math) expert, so his advice is likely very sound.

https://teachingsaxon.com/2022-newsletters/december-2022/

 

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